(Free tips 2016: +75 points ; 2017 18/185, +79.5; 2018, 9/87,26p, +68.5, Members Festival Tips: +152)
Vendredi Trois – 1 point win 7/1 (gen) 2nd
Exxaro – 1 point win – 12/1 (gen) 3rd *
Damn, decent runs from the pair but just bumped into one.. I wasn’t near the winner, can overlook plenty at his price and trainer was in form, but his prev two runs were poor, first run in C3 and stamina to prove – but of course chance he could improve for it, decent win in the end. Annoying.
A decent enough Summer class 3 handicap chase to get stuck into here. I won’t fall off my seat if the Newland horse bolts up again- knowing him he may still have 20lb+ in hand, but this is a different test from last time out where he strolled around in an awful 4 runner race and did what was expected, at C4 level. His jumping could have been sharper and it may be that a stronger pace/big field helps with that -or it may come under severe pressure. It’s hard to know how good he is or could be and this race will tell us plenty more. Clearly he’s expected to go very well. His price seems about right i’d say, if not a little short, and I want to take him on. Time will tell if that’s foolish or not…
Vendredi Trois… well he stepped forward last time over CD and this is only his 6th chase. The hope is that he may be a better chaser than he was hurdler – well, he will need to be otherwise he’s just hit his ceiling and may have moved into a class level he won’t cope with. But, he travelled and jumped very well around here LTO, just off the pace, and won a shade cosily in the end. That experience should ensure he gets competitive here and could be the one to take advantage of any chinks in the fav. Given that he’s fit, looks progressive over fences, has CD form and comes here on the back of a decent win, I still thought this price may be a couple of points too big. He should give me a run for my money.
Exxaro… for a LTO winner and for one where connections may have found the key/got him right over fences, I thought 12/1 looked a few points too big here. There could be more to come from him. I suspect he’s a tad tricky and maybe he won’t back up the last run, but he did win a shade cosily there. He is up in class here but there are bits and pieces of form at this level that would give you hope and he used to be rated in the low 130s. Now he’s won a chase we could see a different horse. Clearly that last win could have just been a fluke but there is every chance he can build on it. He has course experience which is never a bad thing either. There is a slight niggle about this 3f drop in trip but it’s more an unknown and built into his price for me. This track allows you to wind up and get rolling and hopefully he can hold a position as they turn for home.
Of the rest..well the Bradstock horse is another unexposed one but this is much deeper than LTO and he’ll need to step forward, which he may do. But I was happy to leave him at his odds. Strongly Suggested was of some mild interest but he is 11 and only 1/13 in C3 handicap chases, usually strutting his stuff at C4. I’d like to think younger legs would have him here, but he could run a big race and Jonjo is in the best form i can ever remember. Of the bigger priced ones…well Golden Hoof may be worth tracking as he is lightly raced under rules and hit OR 138 for Nicky Henderson at one stage, now down to 123. He isn’t getting any younger and was awful LTO, arriving there on the back of decent point to point form this year. But, Barber may find the key this summer and win races with him, but i’d like to think this race may be hot enough, and he doesn’t come here in form. But, he is the most interesting of the biggies to my eyes. I can’t have the rest and if one of them wins then so be it.
That will be all for today.
GL with any bets,